Organized Sports is a recurring sports column named for a seminal DC avant-hardcore song by the equally stupid and brilliant (to me, “equally stupid and brilliant” pretty much just means “brilliant”) band Void. Take from that what you will.
Though it lasts all of the fall and a good portion of the early winter, football season always seems to come and go before I know it. And now there are only two weeks left in the regular season. Thursday games are already gone—I know the play wasn’t that great, but more football is more football, and you’re damn right I watched most of the games. Soon Monday Night Football will be gone too, and then the marathon of games on Sundays. I know we have the playoffs will carry us into February, but that weekly constant will soon be gone. And like always, I’ll miss it.
Before I get too teary-eyed about the ending of a season of a sport which has no real effect on my life, let’s get to the picks.
(Note: All point spreads listed here are the lines at the time bets were made. Be sure to consult your very legitimate and legal sports book [cough] before making a bet of your own; lines move constantly due to the action on particular games. Also, gambling is illegal in many states. And watch out for those offshore betting sites, lest you end up like an online poker professional. Okay? Okay. Onward and upward.)
Last Week’s Record: 9-6
My Record So Far: 105-109-8
Sunday Early Games (12/22 1PM ET)
Miami Dolphins -2.5 at Buffalo Bills
After two weeks in a row of not-terrible picks, I’m getting close to even, which will probably mean a crushing fall for me this week. Take that as you will when reading these picks, especially when there are a number of games that I have no idea how they’ll play out. This one is included. The Bills will be playing the Republic of Thad at quarterback, though, so I’ll take the Dolphins on the road, even though they’re giving points.
My Pick: Dolphins -2.5
New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers -3
Last week I was fairly sure the Saints were going to destroy my hometown Rams, but they were instead destroyed BY the Rams, who got to them with an early pass rush and good secondary play. The Panther defense is even better than the Rams’, and the Saints are weak on the road. Take the Panthers minus the points. Also known as the Minus the Pointhers.
My Pick: Panthers -3
Dallas Cowboys -3 at Washington Redskins
The NFC East is hilarious this year. Really, the NFC East is pretty much hilarious every year, which makes me not mind how many games featuring these not-good teams are forced down our throats nationally every year. They may not be good games, per se, but they’re always entertaining, in the same way that Anna Nicole Smith reality show where she was melting down pitifully was entertaining. Yes, I am a horrible person.
My Pick: Cowboys -3
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at St. Louis Rams -5.5
Taking three favorites to start out probably makes me a dope. Taking the Rams when they’re favored, even though I want them to win, would probably make me an even bigger dope. So I’m trying to lay off the dope a little bit. That was a joke, implying that I am a heroin addict. Explaining the joke was a meta joke in and of itself. I must be Dave Eggers, because all of this was a bit precious and not at all funny.
My Pick: Buccaneers +5.5
Chicago Bears at Philadelphia Eagles -3
If these teams combined their names, they would be either the Beagles or the Ears. Beagles are doggies that are cute and have big floppy ears. Coincidence? I think not.
My Pick: Bears +3
Cleveland Browns at New York Jets -2
The suburb where I went to high school was divided, racially, by train tracks. So there was actually, literally, a “wrong side of the tracks” in the eyes of some, and that wrong side was often referred to as Browntown. Also, Little Africa, and Hershey Hill. Ah, casual St. Louis-area racism!
My Pick: Browns +2
Indianapolis Colts at Kansas City Chiefs -7
The team name Colts never fails to remind me that I saw the movie 3 Ninjas in the theater when I was young, and that said three ninjas were given ninja names by their sensei, who was a guy who looked like Mr. Miyagi but wasn’t. Said names were Colt, Rocky and Tum-Tum. I never remember to pick up everything I need from the grocery store, but I do remember these names. Scumbag brain.
My Pick: Colts +7
Minnesota Vikings at Cincinnati Bengals -7.5
If Minnesota’s professional football team ruled over eighties guitar gods, would they be the Steve Vai Kings?
My Pick: Vikings +7.5
Denver Broncos -10.5 at Houston Texans
You know what? Fuck it, I’m taking the Broncos and more than ten points because the Texans are fucking horrible.
My Pick: Broncos -10.5
Tennessee Titans -5.5 at Jacksonville Jaguars
This is a game that exists.
My Pick: Jaguars +5.5
Sunday Late Games (12/22 4:05/4:25PM ET)
Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks -10.5
The Seahawks are favored by more than ten points against a team that is currently sitting at a record of 9-5. I realize Seattle’s home-field advantage is even better than most, but could we be overrating the aquatic birds of prey a little bit here? I think there’s some opportunity here for me to make some money by picking against them.
My Pick: Cardinals +10.5
New York Giants at Detroit Lions -9
Apropos of nothing, you know a band that was pretty good that I forget about? The Black Crowes.
My Pick: Giants +9
Oakland Raiders at San Diego Chargers -10
Oakland is the second-tier Bay Area City, and San Diego is the second-tier Southern California city (don’t try to argue it’s better than LA, unless you like every bar to be overrun with shore leave sailors and dudes with the tags still on the flat brims of their New Era caps). What does any of this mean in terms of picking this game? Nothing.
My Pick: Chargers -10 because #yolo
Pittsburgh Steelers at Green Bay Packers (no line)
Once again, no line on the Packers game. That means I don’t even have to make a bad pun here.
My Pick: N/A
Sunday Night Game (12/22 8:25PM ET)
New England Patriots at Baltimore Ravens -2.5
Actual football analysis: without Rob Gronkowski, the Patriots are second-worst in the league in Red Zone efficiency, and the Ravens rank in the top five in Red Zone defense. Other analysis: the Patriots are a big bunch of poopyheads and I don’t like them.
My Pick: Ravens -2.5
Monday Night Football (12/23 8:30PM ET)
Atlanta Falcons at San Francisco 49ers -12
The last Monday night game of the year had all the makings, before the season started, of an NFC championship preview. Now, I will only watch to listen to Gruden say THIS GUY a lot.
My Pick: Falcons +12
The last week of the regular season next week. How will the playoff picture shake out? Will I get above .500 before the season ends? Will womp tym the deebo? Stay tuned to find out.